A fresh wave of airstrikes struck the Syrian capital of Damascus Saturday — killing 22 people and raising the week-long death toll to more than 500.
The United Nations Security Council, seeking to squelch the spasm of violence, voted unanimously in favor of a 30-day cease-fire.
The long-stalled resolution came after a weeklong bombardment that killed hundreds, devastated hospitals and prompted terrified residents to hide in packed underground shelters.
Russia, a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government, was blamed for hanging up the vote after insisting on amendments to the draft resolution.
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“In the three days it took us to adopt this resolution, how many mothers lost their kids to the bombing and shelling? How many more images did we need to see of fathers holding their dead children?” United Nation Ambassador Nikki Haley said to members of the council.
“All for nothing, because here we are, voting for a cease-fire that could have saved lives days ago.”
Syrian opposition activists say Russian warplanes joined in the government offensive in the rebel-held eastern suburbs known as eastern Ghouta.
The attacks triggered calamitous conditions as at least 22 hospitals and clinics were destroyed.
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Wounded civilians had no choice but to huddle in underground bunkers with little food and medical supplies
“There is no electricity, no water, no flour, no bread and no baby formula,” paramedic Siraj Mahmoud said in an audio message calling for a short break in airstrikes so residents can get food for their children.
“There is nothing inside Ghouta.”
The latest aerial onslaught has killed 510 civilians, including 127 children and 75 women, since Sunday, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
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“We all failed them this week,” Haley said in her remarks to the council. “I guess there is unity in that.”
In defending its decision to delay the vote, Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya said the ceasefire had no chance of holding without agreements between warring factions. “This kind of an unrealistic approach will do nothing to address the issues,” Nebenzya said, according to the New York Times.
The UN ceasefire marked the latest chapter in a bloody and brutal conflict that has stretched on for nearly seven years.
Backed by Russia, the Assad regime has targeted pockets of rebel forces — as well as Islamist fighters — in strikes that have led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades.
With News Wire Services
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